What is the new AIDA program of IIT Madras? What will I study there?

What is the new AIDA program of IIT Madras? What will I study there?

Founded in 2024, the Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI (WSAI) is home to the 18th and newest department (Department of Data Science and AI) at IIT Madras. The department will start with fifteen full-time faculty members, making it the largest AI department across all 23 IITs.

The department offers a BTech in AI & Data Analytics, an amazing opportunity to dive into the world of artificial intelligence and data analytics. This unique interdisciplinary program offers a comprehensive foundation in AI technologies and various aspects of data analytics, preparing you for a dynamic career in various industries, and also for graduate studies.

The first few semesters of the course will focus on imparting foundational knowledge in mathematics and statistics. Starting from probability theory, linear algebra, optimization, till programming fundamentals, along with basic sciences. The second year would introduce students to Machine Learning and AI fundamentals. The goal here is to ensure students are aware of all the modeling paradigms. There are so many deep learning architectures ranging from a humble convolutional neural network to GANs, so it is essential to have a detailed idea of various learning algorithms and really understand these model architectures.

The next stage would be to help students wrap up these foundations and learn how to train these models on data, followed by practical deployment of these models. The third year would focus on more advanced topics in ML, like Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning. Along with the core courses, students will be required to take electives in one of the two core baskets. One basket is all about traditional applications of AI like language and vision while the other would focus on more systems oriented aspects like manufacturing systems or process control oriented applications of data science and AI.

In the final year, there will be a course introducing the principles of responsible design in AI along with unallotted credits for other electives. In the curriculum, there will also be courses to help students integrate everything that they have learned and apply it to a domain of their choice, be it through course projects or a thesis. The goal of this program is to not repair a computer science curriculum, but look at it as a ground up design for not just learning about AI but about building deployable AI systems.